Economic analysis of early-access and preordering games

Analyze the steady push of AAA developers to offer "early-access" to an unfinished game, the economics of pre-release hype and how it can immensely help the numbers of a sub-par game (see: No Man’s Sky), and the disturbing trend of releasing a game whether it’s finished or not–only to release the rest of the game as expensive DLC (Star Wars Battlefront). Are these methods sustainable or will enough disappointment eventually dissuade gamers from preordering?

  • A good way to drive the point home would be to compare games released before pre-release culture with games being released toady. What would have happened if an unfinished game were released on a system that had no internet access? You could also look at how specific game franchises or developers have changed (for better or worse) over the years. – Disastromancer 7 years ago
  • Have you heard about Star Citizen? It started as a crow-fund project and now its like this whole investment monster. Its initial goal was for 2 million dollars and was slated to be released a few years ago. But as of now, the project has been funded 141 million dollars, thus giving the creators opportunities to make the game bigger than its initial concept. Its gotten to the point where donators have been given unique starships, planets and in-game money. The game itself has become an enterprise and it hasn't even been released. I think people, in this case, like to feel part of something as big as this and be compensated for it. Everybody wins. In the case of DLCs and expansions, I feel like regardless of people not wanting to purchase them, they will still feel peer pressured into it. – jcastro4 7 years ago
  • Also, it's worth noting the ways that places like Amazon, through Prime, are incentivizing consumers in the current market to buy physical games. With prime, Tier 2 editions are discounted often to where the MSRP is for a regular Tier 1 "standard" edition, and the same sort of relationship goes for the Tier 3 editions to the Tier 2 editions. Great topic, and worth exploring. – Paul A. Crutcher 7 years ago
  • I feel like preordering is more of a AAA practice, where you see early access done far more often in the indy scene, as paid early access often helps bridge the gap that would normally be bridged by a publisher. – John Wells 7 years ago

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